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Small Construction Contractors See Increase in Fatalities

Nov 14, 2018

In its most recent quarterly data report, construction workers blueprintsthe Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) has found a troubling disparity in construction industry fatalities. The report states that from 2008 to 2016, small construction contractors saw a 57 percent increase in fatal injuries while construction contractors with 20 or more employees experienced a 30 percent decrease in their fatality injuries.  

In 2016, small contractors employed 37 percent of the construction workforce, but accounted for 67 percent of fatalities. The report notes that small construction businesses face barriers to implementing  safety and health programs that could prevent fall fatalities, such as limited resources and business competition in the construction industry.

The data also show that from 1992 to 2016, the leading cause of fatalities in construction were falls to a lower level, followed by struck-by incidents. It is of note that there were nearly twice as many fatal incidents in cases of workers falling to a lower level as struck-by incidents. During this same time period, the OSHA “Construction Focus Four” hazards (falls, stuck-by, caught-in or -between, and electrocution) accounted for 70 percent of all construction fatalities, with an average of 743 fatalities per year.

CPWR will continue working with industry partners, NIOSH, OSHA and the NORA Construction Sector Council to address the needs of small construction contractors in preventing these types of incidents. Moving forward, one of CPWR’s goals is to identify and develop materials to inform small construction contractors of the tools and resources available to them that can provide guidance on how to prevent workplace fatalities.  

Related Links

Construction Design: It’s Role in Incident Prevention

Prevention Through Design for Hazards in Construction

Fall Protection: Overcoming Misconceptions in Residential Construction

Improving Construction Safety: A Team Effort


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